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Although clearly CPU-limited, both gaming systems sail through Skyrim’s High quality preset. The current machine leads by 15-18 frames per second, on average, and around 10 frames per second when we look at the minimum. It only dips below 60 frames per second briefly at 1680x1050.
Using Ultra details and with 8x MSAA applied, June's PC still appears either CPU- or platform-limited throughout testing, since frame rates at 1920x1080 match those at 1280x720. Interestingly, though, the two stock systems serve up similar performance at our highest resolution. Gains achieved by graphics overclocking now point to the GeForce GTX 560 as the current system’s bottleneck.
Searching for a worst-case scenario within the walls of Markarth, we found that the Pentium processor from this quarter's configuration delivered more than 40 FPS consistently, while last quarter's box briefly dropped as low as 30 FPS in the same game area. It's also worth noting, though, that the newer system was tested under an updated game version and GeForce drivers, which could impact the outcome, too.
This 60-second Fraps benchmark starts out taxing, but eases up as enemies are eliminated from the map. We stay consistent by running the same four resolutions, even if more conservative display settings do this game no justice.
Once again, we see a familiar frame rate drop as the aspect ratio gets wider, directing blame toward a CPU limitation. So, it’s no surprise that the Pentium maintains a significant lead at all resolutions.
The fixed multiplier ratio imposed upon these processors stymie our overclocking efforts, so the same bottleneck persists through our highest test settings.
Minimums frame rates of 46 proved that last quarter's PC was capable of serving up a solid StarCraft II experience. But the current rig’s 64+ FPS earns it my vote for tackling large-scale battles.